THE SUPREME Court (SC) acquitted pastor and former radio program anchor Eliseo F. Soriano in one count of libel, but affirmed an indictment on another libel count filed by Jesus Miracle Crusade, International Ministry (JMCIM) leader Evangelist Wilde E. Almeda. The libel cases both stemmed from the July 31, 1998 broadcast of Mr. Soriano in his “Ang Dating Daan” radio program in which he allegedly “willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, and maliciously with intent to cause and expose to public” the persons comprising the religious group and Mr. Almeda. Citing a previous case, the SC’s first division, in its Nov. 21 decision, acquitted the former radio anchor of one of the charges because he only referred to “persons comprising the Jesus Miracle Crusade, International Ministry” without any identifiable person injured by the statement. “Further, contrary to the findings of the lower courts, We did not find anything in the records which establish or single out any specific pastor, specifically Joel Cortero. Neither can we consider petitioner’s statements, be sweeping enough as to injure the reputation of all the members of JMCIM,” the SC ruled. The elements of libel, which are defamatory imputation, malice, publication, and identification, are present in the other case where he referred to Mr. Almeda. The cases were initially filed before and decided on by the Iriga City Regional Trial Court and later affirmed by the Court of Appeals. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas